Tuesday , October 4 2022

Study: Corona epidemic raises rates of depression and anxiety worldwide


With these words, Bashar laments the cost of psychotherapy sessions that prevented him from helping his family in Jaramana, in rural Damascus: “Perhaps it would be better to transfer the money to my family.”

Bashar, a 28-year-old Syrian national who has been residing in Lebanon for five years to escape compulsory military service in his country, told Al-Hurra website that the hardest thing he faced in his experience of psychological distress was the cost. “The treatment itself is more of a concern than the disease,” he said.

He explained that he had to pay 400,000 Lebanese Pounds ($22 on the black market and $266 at the official exchange rate), costing more per weekly session than his monthly salary, “despite everything that’s happened to him,” he said. Because of the bad financial conditions in Lebanon.” Lebanon is surrounded by friends and an environment that understands mental disorders, panic and intense fear.

The minimum wage in Lebanon is £675,000, equivalent to $37 at the black market rate and $450 at the official exchange rate.

Regarding the challenges faced by people with mental illness in Lebanon, Empress Communications Director Heba El-Dandashli said in an interview with Al-Hurra, “In light of the current conditions in Lebanon, the cost of treatment is one of the most important challenges a person with mental illness is suffering from. “

Al-Dandashli explained that “the cost of psychiatrist sessions ranges from 400,000 to 600,000 Lebanese lira, and some are in foreign currency”, noting that “the psychiatrist is also trying to make a living.”

He stressed that “there is a kind of social understanding and awareness of mental health among some” and stressed that “talking about mental disorders and suicidal tendencies is still a frightening point in Lebanese society.”

In the same context, El-Dandashly spoke of “many psychiatrists emigrate, leaving patients behind in pain to find an alternative, and the scarcity of sedative and anti-depressant and anxiety medications,” adding, “Embrace and other associations, I try to provide as many medications as possible.”

According to the data of “Embrace”, which provides psychological support by telephone (lifeline), the number of calls the organization receives through the helpline has doubled this year, to 1100 per month, that is, dozens per day, 66 percent for cases of emotional disturbance, 31 involving suicidal thoughts. .

In August 2021, the organization received contacts from 64 percent Lebanese, 14 percent Syrian and the rest from different nationalities.

Regarding the most common ailments, Al-Dandashli spoke of “depression, persistent anxiety from fear of the future, and post-traumatic stress disorder, especially after the explosion in the port of Beirut.”

He noted that “high rates of immigration in light of social and economic conditions and low incomes contribute to the deterioration of mental health at all ages.”

After the economic collapse that began two years ago and was exacerbated by the horrific explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, tens of thousands of people were either unemployed or their wages barely appreciated after losing nearly 90% of the Lebanese pound. value against the dollar.

Regarding possible solutions to help the mentally handicapped, Al-Dandashli stressed “the necessity of enacting laws that protect people from effects and consequences” and explained that “labor laws in Lebanon do not protect the person from the causes of ailments (such as bullying companies) and in case of any inconvenience. does not guarantee sick leave.


Chairman of the Psychiatric Science Council of the Iraqi Medical Specialization Board. Nassif Jassem Al-Hamiri called the website “Free.”

Al-Humairi emphasized that “the difficulties faced by the mentally handicapped in Iraq are not different from those in third world countries” and noted that “one of the biggest obstacles is society’s view of psychological disorder and defining it as insanity”.

According to the cases passed by him, Al-Humairi affirms that “troubles seek treatment for sheikhs, folk healers, and charlatans, believing that the ailment is the result of jinn, magic, envy, and other unscientific ideas.”

“The patient comes to us when he is exhausted financially and morally because he may be subjected to beatings, starvation and other unconventional treatments that increase his suffering.”

Although there are government centers for psychological support, “it is insufficient and not necessary, which leaves mental illness at the mercy of private treatment as the cost of a session reaches $30,” he said.

Regarding the most common mental disorders, Al-Humairi mentions “anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, mental disorders, drug addiction, and others.”

Correlating this with “the political and security situation, unemployment, high prices, waves of displacement and displacement,” and others, he reported a clear and sustained increase in the percentage of psychologically disturbed people in society.

According to a report published by “Medics Without Borders” in October 2020, anxiety rates among the organization’s patients in Iraq rose from 45 percent to 68 percent, and depression from 10 percent to 20 percent.

Stating that 1.65 percent of MSF patients have suicidal thoughts due to the feeling of not being able to provide for their families, the symptoms experienced by those in distress include sad mood, irritability and anger, and sleep disturbance.

Regarding legal guarantees for the mentally handicapped, Al-Humairi praised the existence of a mental health law in Iraq, noting that “the most important consequence is the characterization of a drug addict as a mental patient in need of treatment”.

“Iraqi law guarantees a long sick leave from 6 months to 3 years, after which the outcome of the contract with the psychopath is decided, plus a welfare pension is given to the troubled person or caregiver. “The person sponsoring a mentally unstable person can apply for leave by doing so ‘ he added.


As for Algeria, which has suffered from colonialism for many years, as the founder of the “Psychological Direction” initiative, “anxiety emerges as one of the most common ailments among the Algerian people, some of whom are experiencing a crisis of subconscious fear”. , expert Bilal Morsli told Al-Hurra.

“Anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and other disorders all abound in society, but without recognition,” he added.

Morsli said, “The most important barrier to those who are psychologically disturbed is society’s view as they see the state of society as insanity, and this is due to a massive awareness crisis, so some are unaware of the existence of treatment and psychology.”

He noted the loss of consciousness and courage during visits to psychiatric clinics, so that most hospitals do not flag the Department of Mind and Psychiatry so as not to embarrass the troubled, which gives a clear picture of the truth. from mental disorders.”

“The cost of psychotherapy sessions is almost symbolic, as they do not exceed $5 per session, but many people can live with anxiety for about 15 years and not go to the clinic.”

Head of the National Authority for Health Promotion and Research and Development, Prof. Mustapha Khayati confirmed to Aswat Magharebia last September that “one in five Algerians need to be supported by a mental health professional.”

According to Morsli, field studies and statistics are needed, for example, after awareness and education campaigns on the importance of mental health increase instead of relying on phone numbers in the Kovid-19 crisis. for the law to secure the rights of the troubled.”

He called for more legislation to be worked on, emphasizing that “a large proportion of troubled people will justify their dismissal by referencing medical reports of headaches or stomach ulcers, one of the most obvious physical symptoms of mental disorders.” This is the bitter truth, just as he described it.

Saudi Arabia

As for Saudi Arabia, “stigma is still the primary cause and difficulty of most patients’ reluctance,” university professor and psychological counselor Professor Ali Sahfan told Al-Hurra.

Regarding the cost of treatment, Sahfan said, “a medical examination session in private clinics costs around 200 Saudi riyals ($53), a weekly session costs 500 Saudi riyals ($133) and does not pose a challenge to disorder. Given that in Saudi Arabia there are large hospitals and government clinics that provide free treatment.

“Depression, emotional distress, panic attacks,” says Sahfan of the most common psychological disorders in Saudi society.

According to the results of the 2019 National Mental Health and Life Stress Survey, 34 percent of Saudi men and women suffer from a mental disorder at some point in their lives, while 40 percent of Saudi youth suffer from a mental disorder at some point. point in their life.

The study, which lasted nearly three years and included 4,004 people, showed that the most common psychological condition in the Kingdom was separation anxiety disorder (11.9 percent), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (7.9 percent), and major depressive disorder (6%) third. percent.

He noted a noticeable increase in the number of mental disorders, especially the rate of delusional disorder, due to the change in lifestyle due to the Corona virus pandemic, which makes one believe that any increase in temperature, cold or sneezing means infection. Corona virus.

In the second half of 2021, the overall risk of depression reached 18.2 percent, according to data from the National Center for Mental Health Promotion.

The studies that the center worked on also showed the effect of anxiety about infection with Corona virus-19 on mental health, as the risk of depression reached 16.4 percent in those who did not receive the vaccine and 8.5 percent in those who received the vaccine. got the vaccine.

The risk of developing anxiety was 15.9 percent in those who did not get vaccinated, and 12 percent in those who did.

The two newspapers praised the existence of many public hospitals and psychiatric clinics, as well as counseling services over the phone and social media, increasing the patient’s assurance that his identity would not be revealed.

“There are legal systems in the Kingdom that protect the rights of the psychiatric patient and protect the confidentiality of the information he or she gives to the doctor or psychiatrist, and on sick leave he is treated like any other organic patient.”

The world celebrates World Mental Health Day every year on October 10th, when the World Health Organization has decided to launch the slogan “Mental Health Care for All” for this year, based on the impact of the global pandemic crisis on all its inhabitants. of the earth.

Noting that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on people’s mental health, the organization noted that certain groups were particularly affected, including healthcare professionals and front-line students, those living alone, and those who already have mental health problems.

He noted that mental health and neurological services and substance use disorders services were disrupted during the pandemic period.

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